ACT III
Scene 4
 

A Hall in the palace. A banquet prepared.

Enter Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, Ross, Lennox, Lords, and Attendants.

MACBETH
You know your own degrees; sit down. At first
And last the hearty welcome.

LORDS
Thanks to your Majesty.

MACBETH
Ourself will mingle with society
And play the humble host.
Our hostess keeps her state, but in best time
We will require her welcome.

LADY MACBETH
Pronounce it for me, sir, to all our friends,
For my heart speaks they are welcome.

Enter first Murtherer to the door.

MACBETH
See, they encounter thee with their hearts' thanks.
Both sides are even; here I'll sit i' the midst.
Be large in mirth; anon we'll drink a measure
The table round. [Approaches the door.] There's blood upon thy
face.

MURTHERER
'Tis Banquo's then.

MACBETH
'Tis better thee without than he within.
Is he dispatch'd?

MURTHERER
My lord, his throat is cut; that I did for him.

MACBETH
Thou art the best o' the cut-throats! Yet he's good
That did the like for Fleance. If thou didst it,
Thou art the nonpareil.

MURTHERER
Most royal sir,
Fleance is 'scaped.

MACBETH
[Aside.] Then comes my fit again. I had else been perfect,
Whole as the marble, founded as the rock,
As broad and general as the casing air;
But now I am cabin'd, cribb'd, confin'd, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears -But Banquo's safe?

MURTHERER
Ay, my good lord. Safe in a ditch he bides,
With twenty trenched gashes on his head,
The least a death to nature.

MACBETH
Thanks for that.
There the grown serpent lies; the worm that's fled
Hath nature that in time will venom breed,
No teeth for the present. Get thee gone. Tomorrow
We'll hear ourselves again.

Exit Murtherer.

LADY MACBETH
My royal lord,
You do not give the cheer. The feast is sold
That is not often vouch'd, while 'tis amaking,
'Tis given with welcome. To feed were best at home;
From thence the sauce to meat is ceremony;
Meeting were bare without it.

MACBETH
Sweet remembrancer!
Now good digestion wait on appetite,
And health on both!

LENNOX
May't please your Highness sit.

The Ghost of Banquo enters and sits in Macbeth's place.

MACBETH
Here had we now our country's honor roof'd,
Were the graced person of our Banquo present,
Who may I rather challenge for unkindness
Than pity for mischance!

ROSS
His absence, sir,
Lays blame upon his promise. Please't your Highness
To grace us with your royal company?

MACBETH
The table's full.

LENNOX
Here is a place reserved, sir.

MACBETH
Where?

LENNOX
Here, my good lord. What is't that moves your Highness?

MACBETH
Which of you have done this?

LORDS
What, my good lord?

MACBETH
Thou canst not say I did it; never shake
Thy gory locks at me.

ROSS
Gentlemen, rise; his Highness is not well.

LADY MACBETH
Sit, worthy friends; my lord is often thus,
And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat.
The fit is momentary; upon a thought
He will again be well. If much you note him,
You shall offend him and extend his passion.
Feed, and regard him not-Are you a man?

MACBETH
Ay, and a bold one, that dare look on that
Which might appal the devil.

LADY MACBETH
O proper stuff!
This is the very painting of your fear;
This is the air-drawn dagger which you said
Led you to Duncan. O, these flaws and starts,
Impostors to true fear, would well become
A woman's story at a winter's fire,
Authorized by her grandam. Shame itself!
Why do you make such faces? When all's done,
You look but on a stool.

MACBETH
Prithee, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you?
Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak too.
If charnel houses and our graves must send
Those that we bury back, our monuments
Shall be the maws of kites.

Exit Ghost.

LADY MACBETH
What, quite unmann'd in folly?

MACBETH
If I stand here, I saw him.

LADY MACBETH
Fie, for shame!

MACBETH
Blood hath been shed ere now, i' the olden time,
Ere humane statute purged the gentle weal;
Ay, and since too, murthers have been perform'd
Too terrible for the ear. The time has been,
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end; but now they rise again,
With twenty mortal murthers on their crowns,
And push us from our stools. This is more strange
Than such a murther is.

LADY MACBETH
My worthy lord,
Your noble friends do lack you.

MACBETH
I do forget.
Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends.
I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing
To those that know me. Come, love and health to all;
Then I'll sit down. Give me some wine, fill full.
I drink to the general joy o' the whole table,
And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss.
Would he were here! To all and him we thirst,
And all to all.

LORDS
Our duties and the pledge.

Re-enter Ghost.

MACBETH
Avaunt, and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee!
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold;
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes
Which thou dost glare with.

LADY MACBETH
Think of this, good peers,
But as a thing of custom. 'Tis no other,
Only it spoils the pleasure of the time.

MACBETH
What man dare, I dare.
Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear,
The arm'd rhinoceros, or the Hyrcan tiger;
Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves
Shall never tremble. Or be alive again,
And dare me to the desert with thy sword.
If trembling I inhabit then, protest me
The baby of a girl. Hence, horrible shadow!
Unreal mockery, hence!

Exit Ghost.

Why, so, being gone,
I am a man again. Pray you sit still.

LADY MACBETH
You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,
With most admired disorder.

MACBETH
Can such things be,
And overcome us like a summer's cloud,
Without our special wonder? You make me strange
Even to the disposition that I owe
When now I think you can behold such sights
And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks
When mine is blanch'd with fear.

ROSS
What sights, my lord?

LADY MACBETH
I pray you, speak not; he grows worse and worse;
Question enrages him. At once, good night.
Stand not upon the order of your going,
But go at once.

LENNOX
Good night, and better health
Attend his Majesty!

LADY MACBETH
A kind good night to all!

Exeunt all but Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

MACBETH
It will have blood; they say blood will have blood.
Stones have been known to move and trees to speak;
Augures and understood relations have
By maggot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth
The secret'st man of blood. What is the night?

LADY MACBETH
Almost at odds with morning, which is which.

MACBETH
How say'st thou, that Macduff denies his person
At our great bidding?

LADY MACBETH
Did you send to him, sir?

MACBETH
I hear it by the way, but I will send.
There's not a one of them but in his house
I keep a servant feed. I will tomorrow,
And betimes I will, to the weird sisters.
More shall they speak; for now I am bent to know,
By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good
All causes shall give way. I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
Strange things I have in head that will to hand,
Which must be acted ere they may be scann'd.

LADY MACBETH
You lack the season of all natures, sleep.

MACBETH
Come, we'll to sleep. My strange and self-abuse
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use.
We are yet but young in deed.

Exeunt.